LOVE AND LOGIC
Kids of all ages face many situations during these times that can create and feed anxiety. Like nearly all the challenges faced by parents, anxiety in children has many possible causes and solutions. Fortunately, Love and Logic offers a variety of “experiments” to determine what might work best with each unique child. Here are some tips that can help alleviate anxiety with your kids:
Establish or strengthen family routines.
With anxious, fearful kids, experiment with having set times for meals, bath times, reading, chores, bedtimes, etc.
Provide firmer limits.
There are few things more reassuring to a child than knowing that they have parents who are strong enough to beat-up the “Boogie Man” if he broke into the house at night. All children wonder if they have parents who are strong enough to keep them safe. One of the ways they find out is to test limits and see if their parents appear weak or very strong.
Give less attention to anxious behavior.
Experiment with using fewer words when your child is upset. Simply hug them and say, “I know you can handle this.”
Model calmness and optimism.
Our children will rarely be any calmer and more confident than we are.
Avoid reinforcing avoidance behavior.
Too frequently we traumatize children more by repeatedly allowing them to avoid healthy activities that can build their sense of security and self-esteem.
Allow your child to be a child.
Every year, children are being pushed harder to become stars in academics, athletics, music, etc. Excessive pressure to excel isn’t good for kids.
Consider professional help.
Because anxiety can have so many different causes, it’s always wise to get a professional medical opinion.
In addition to typical sources of anxiety, younger kids might also experience difficulty with separation anxiety. I am often asked, “How do I help my child feel less anxious about going to daycare, preschool or the babysitter?” Some separation anxiety is normal and healthy. If you have young kids, the odds are high that you’ve pondered this question and wondered what to do. Listed below are some quick tips for dealing with separation anxiety:
• Remember that kids take their emotional cues from the adults around them.
The calmer and more business-like we act, the easier it’ll be for our kids.
• Avoid doing too much reassuring.
Strangely, the more we talk with our little ones about how much fun they are going to have, the more anxiety they seem to have. It’s as if they reason, “If my parents have to tell me this is going to be okay, maybe it won’t.”
• Make the transition short and sweet.
The quicker you move, the faster your child will calm down once you leave.
• Don’t look back.
Although it’s hard to resist the urge to go back and comfort your child, he or she will calm down far quicker if you keep going and don’t look back.
Generally, the tots who feel the most secure when they are with their parents are the ones who feel the most secure when they are away from their parents. A large part of providing this security involves combining big doses of love with good, solid limits.
In my webinar, Love and Logic Solutions for Early Childhood, I provide a variety of strategies that send children the message that they are loved and secure. When kids feel this way, they are more capable of facing life without fear.
Thanks for reading! If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend. Our goal is to help as many families as possible.
Dr. Charles Fay